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Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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Loy Norrix administration fights against illegal substance use on campus
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A decade of stage performance leads senior Amelia Wood to captain improv team

Credit: Sophia Wrzesinski
Amelia Wood conducts a welcome meeting with the new improv members. Wood asks everyone to introduce themselves.

Children crowd around the wings of the stage dressed in costume and face makeup, awaiting their cue. They chat and giggle together, forgetting how much noise they’re making. Amelia wasn’t merely performing with other actors, but with friends. 

Amelia Wood’s first performance was in second grade as Gonzargo in “Babes in Toyland.” The theatre, Family Center for the Arts, was run by Rebecca Hayward. Wood was, and still is, friends with Hayward’s child, Max Achenbach, who has also done theatre for a long time. 

The theater programs at Maple Street Magnet School and Loy Norrix High School have allowed Wood to take on more stage opportunities. 

“There’s just a really good satisfaction in working really hard to put on a show and then performing it with people you’ve gotten really close with,” Wood said. The tight-knit community keeps her coming back. 

The last performance Wood participated in was the Loy Norrix show “Almost, Maine.” She played Sandrine, a woman having her bachelorette party at the local bar. On the way to the bathroom, Sandrine is stopped by her ex, Jimmy, who is drinking alone. Sandrine then sits through a horribly awkward conversation where Jimmy expresses how much he misses her. 

“The whole interaction of them meeting in this bar was meant to be extremely awkward and painful to watch… I usually play funny characters, but getting to act awkward was really fun,” Wood said.

Wood has done scripted theater for a long time, but her most recent passion is improvisation.

Improvisation, or improv for short, is a type of acting that is unscripted. Games are what give structure to improv performances. The complexity of each game varies, but all dialogue is spontaneous. During Wood’s sophomore year, she joined the Improv and Scriptwriting EFA where she discovered an entirely new way of performing. 

“You just got to tell jokes and be yourself, just letting it flow instead of trying to remember what you’re supposed to do,” said Wood. The class left her wanting more. 

Wood decided to create her own improv club at Loy Norrix. The first team was a voluntary group formed at the end of her sophomore year in collaboration with math teacher Michael McCauley. 

The next year, Wood created an official improv troupe with the drama teacher, Dan Lafferty. 

“We hadn’t had an improv club here at Norrix since before COVID-19, so she kind of had to build it up from nothing,” said Lafferty. 

They held auditions, made a team and put on a show. As the improv “Captain,” as her team lovingly calls her, Wood organized and directed a majority of the improv show. 

“It’s been really fulfilling, and I’ve loved being able to share improv with my team, my friends,” Wood said.

Wood has bigger plans for her team in the upcoming 23-24 school year. She wants to put on multiple shows and have her team learn some long-form improv games, rather than the short-form games that they’ve been doing. Short-form games are 2-5 minutes long, they have only a couple rules and no overarching story. Long-form games are 10-15 minutes long, they have more rules and a basic storyline. Examples of storylines are acting as taxi-car passengers or suspects in a murder mystery. 

Amelia Wood mentors new improv members in a game of freeze tag. Freeze tag is a common introductory improv game. (Credit: Sophia Wrzesinski)

Because there is an established team, it’ll be easier to teach improv games and skills to new team members. 

“We’ve had more time to work together, which is really important for an improv team – to know how you generally act on stage with your styles of improv – who goes good together and for what,” Wood said.

Wood is not sure what she wants to do after high school but through the social, leadership and team working skills she’s learned through stage performance, she is well-prepared for adulthood.

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About the Contributor
Sophia Wrzesinski, Assistant Graphics Editor
Hey, I'm the assistant graphics editor for Knight Life. I'm a senior at Loy Norrix and this is my first year with Knight Life. What drew me to Knight life was the idea of a student-run, collaborative news team. It's a great space to improve my skills in writing, video, teamwork and graphic design. Outside of school I enjoy drawing, painting, sewing and riding my bike.

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